Plant & Works Engineering
BSIF urges companies to tackle MSDs
Published:  14 October, 2010

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is highlighting the major problem of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) as the most common occupational injury. With an estimated 538,000 people in Great Britain who had worked in the last year, suffering from a musculoskeletal disorder that was caused or made worse by their current or past work, the BSIF would like to see the number of MSD’s fall. An estimated 11.6 million working days a year are lost to work-related MSDs and the Labour Force Survey shows that an estimated 9.3 million working days (full-day equivalent) were lost in 2009/09 through MSDs caused or made worse by work. The figures alone show what a significant problem this is and one that every employer needs to be aware of not only to ensure they are protecting their staff to the best of their ability but as the possible loss of working days will also potentially harm their business. As a valuable information source, whose core purpose is to support and represent suppliers, the BSIF can offer advice and provide direction in all health and safety matters. Statistics gathered through the Labour Force Survey suggest that the overall incidence rate of self-reported work-related MSDs has fallen over the period 2001/02 to 2008/09 but the BSIF would like to see these fall further. In the case of MSD’s, some jobs will have risks which will be unavoidable such as manual handling, however with practical advice, training and deployment of a handling aid e.g. a pallet truck, electric or hand powered hoist, or a conveyor, the risk will be minimised. Where a mechanical aid or safety equipment is needed it is important to ensure that it is suitable for the job and also conforms to standards if necessary. Most personal protective equipment (PPE) will need to conform to the requirements of the PPE Directive. By working with a member of the BSIF or a BSIF Registered Safety Supplier, purchasers can be assured they are using a reputable supplier who is committed to issuing genuine and suitable products and offering trustworthy advice. For further information please visit: visit